June Ambrose and Johnetta Boone

Echoing similar sentiments of advice for young professionals Boone says, “It’s really important to stay the course, be committed and have patience. June and I didn’t wake up accomplished, it took years of hard work and perseverance. That’s what seems to be missing now in the world we live in. We’re such a microwave society, everyone wants things to happen immediately and that’s not how you have longevity. Sure, you can walk out the door and become a stylist tomorrow but who’s your clientele, what’s your brand? What are you selling and how long will you be able to withstand within the industry?”

June for AAM

June Ambrose

“The foundation of every creative person should be business,” says Ambrose, who shares some vital tips for young designers which are also applicable to any form of entrepreneurship. “Think about who your consumer is, who’s your targeted demographic? How are you going to market your product? How much is it going to retail for? How much are you willing to invest in it? What’s going to be your return on investment? We can all love to do things and sell clothes together but if no one’s going to buy it, receive it or wear it, you’re wasting your time. Get your fundamentals in place first, then think about the creative aspect.”

[pull_quote_left]…Maintain the integrity of your brand. People want what they can’t have. If you can maintain a sense of elitism it really helps with your marquee and your value…[/pull_quote_left]

She adds, “For designers especially, craftsmanship is important. When you’re presenting a collection to a retailer, you want to know that the consumer isn’t going to return these goods; they’re presentable enough to actually be sold to someone. If I’m spending money and investing in your talent, give me something back that’s good quality. Passion isn’t enough, you have to know how to take care of your business.”

Boone and Ambrose have spent their careers working within an industry that is influenced by African American style but often fails to include African American designers and models in industry staples such as New York Fashion week.Boone says she wants her legacy to reflect the fact that she’s, “an accomplished costume designer first and then acknowledge that I happen to be black and that’s an asset second.”

Despite the lack of diversity within the fashion industry, Ambrose has had an unyielding confidence that has helped her advance in her career. “You can’t see the success of others and wonder, ‘why not me?’ I don’t measure my success based on other people’s success. My journey is always going to be different from another person’s regardless of race. The challenge is really staying focused on your path. Don’t get distracted by all of the bumps in the road. Trust yourself and know that you’ll persevere. When you can’t walk, crawl; but always get up. If you have a pulse, then you’ll get up and you’ll keep moving.”